Msgr Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X

Declaration November 21, 1974

The following short article appeared in the January 1987 issue of Catholic. It sets out clearly the position of Msgr Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X as it was only four years after the SSPX was founded. In 1976 Msgr Lefebvre was suspended ‘a divinis’ because he ordained more priests. His comment then was “Suspended from what, and by whom?”

One has to wonder just what is the position of the SSPX today? Could its present Superior-General endorse totally what Msgr Lefebvre wrote all those years ago? If he could, then he would have to break all communication with Rome until the matters of true doctrine are resolved. If he could not, then he has betrayed the mission of his Holy Founder.

The original introduction from Catholic, January 1987.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was, at the time the Council finished, the Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers. He soon resigned that position and retired to a small apartment in Rome. It was not long before he was sought out by some young men seeking guidance in their studies for the priesthood. He was soon fully engaged in this work and established a Seminary at Econe, Switzerland on October 7. 1970.

The Declaration

We cleave, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, the guardian of the Catholic Faith and of all the traditions necessary for the maintenance of that Faith and to Eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth.

On the other hand we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of the neo-Protestant trend clearly manifested throughout Vatican II and, later, in all the reforms born of it.

All these reforms have contributed and are still contributing to the destruction of the Church, the ruin of the Priesthood, the abolishing of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, the disappearance of the religious life, to naturalist and Teilhardian teaching in the universities, seminaries and catechetics, a teaching born of liberalism and Protestantism and often condemned by the solemn magisterium of the Church.

No authority, not even the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith, clearly laid down and professed by the magisterium of the Church for nineteen hundred years. “But,” said St Paul, “though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8).

Is not that what the Holy Father is telling us again today? And if there appears to be certain contradiction between his words and his deeds as in the acts of the Roman Congregations, then we abide by what has always been taught and turn a deaf ear to the Church’s destructive innovations.

It is not possible profoundly to modify the “lex orandi” without modifying the “lex credenti”. To the new Mass there corresponds a new catechism, a new priesthood, new seminaries, new universities, the charismatic and pentecostal Church, all opposed to orthodoxy and the age-old Magisterium of the Church.

Born of liberalism and modernism, this reform is poisoned through and through. It begins in heresy and ends in heresy, even if not all its acts are formally heretical. Hence it is impossible for any informed and loyal Catholic to embrace the Reform or submit himself to it in any way whatsoever.

The only way of salvation for the faithful and the doctrine of the Church is a categorical refusal to accept the Reform.

It is for this cause that with no rebellion, no bitterness, no resentment, we carry on our work of training priests under the star of the timeless magisterium, convinced that we can render no greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, the Sovereign Pontiff and future generations.

It is for this cause that we hold firmly by all that has been believed and practiced in the Faith, in morals, in worship, in the teaching of the catechism, the molding of a priest and the institution of the Church, that eternal Church codified in her books before the influence of the Council made itself felt, awaiting the time when the true light of Tradition shall scatter the darkness clouding the skies of eternal Rome.

In so doing, by the grace of God, the help of the Virgin Mary, of St. Joseph and St Pius X. we are assured of remaining faithful to the Holy Roman and Catholic Church, to all the successors of Peter, and of remaining “fideles dispensoratores mysterium Domini Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto.”

Marcel Lefebvre,
Econe, Switzerland November 21, 1974